The Lucy Stone Cooperative is Standing on the Side of Love
Heather Concannon is a Lucy Stone Cooperative planning team member, student, and activist living in the Boston area.
In mid-March, the Lucy Stone Cooperative hosted a collaboratively planned “Standing on the Side of Love” Leadership Training for activists and people of faith in the Boston Area. This event pulled together almost 40 people from various constituencies: the Lucy Stone Cooperative, a newly forming Unitarian Universalist (UU) housing co-op, Moishe Kavod house, a Jewish social justice house, City Life/Vida Urbana, a housing foreclosure community organization, and the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation.
Our Standing on the Side of Love Training was focused on building leadership skills for community organizers—for both people of faith and folks working in secular community organizations. We shared tools for effective organizing, including telling one’s personal story as a means to forward political change, getting great turnout to events, and framing the work of community organizing.
Sitting in one large room, talking about the skills we use to work towards social justice, with people I had never met before and whose work in the community I was sometimes unfamiliar with, was truly striking for me. It allowed me to see how many people are working toward building stronger communities; people whose paths I don’t often cross in my own work in the social justice world because of our different focuses and constituencies. To be able to connect with others across issues and across identities was an amazing experience in the potential for building communities of mutual support and empowerment.
This training was truly a collaborative effort, with workshops, childcare, translation, and materials available according to the strengths and resources each organization could provide. It is so rare to have groups with such varied constituents and focuses working together to achieve a common goal of learning together. The resources we shared with one another during the day were a wonderful example of the ways in which cross-issue coalition building can truly strengthen progressive movements for social change.
I found it perfectly fitting that we called this training “Standing on the Side of Love”. I think that it is a deep love that brings me, and many of us on the Lucy Stone Co-op planning team, to a life’s commitment to social justice and community building. At the training, I was struck by the deep well of love that people of faith and activists alike bring to social justice work in both faith-based and secular settings: it is the love for humanity that sustains and inspires us.
We do not have an exact blueprint for a world in which love, solidarity and justice are our core values. However, the deep knowing that change is possible and necessary is an act of faith—in the possibility of change, and in one another. As the Lucy Stone Cooperative works to build a home and work for social justice, we are standing on the side of love with all of humanity—a love that reaches across our differences, across various identities, and to the very core of who we are.
The Lucy Stone Cooperative is a newly forming UU housing co-op seeking to build an intentional community and serve as a center for social justice organizing-a place for all people to gather for spiritual renewal, organizing, education, & celebration. For information about how to get involved, to receive monthly updates, or financially support the Lucy Stone Cooperative, visit www.lucystonecoop.org.